Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
A Fox That Flies?
What's that in the sky? It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a flying fox!
Not quite. Picture an animal that has wide, leathery wings and a face that looks like a fox, and you'll understand what a flying fox bat looks like. This bat has a pointy nose, big eyes, and short ears sticking up above its head. Flying foxes are covered with dark fur and have long toes that are good for grabbing hold of tree branches.
Flying foxes are the largest of all bats, and are sometimes referred to as megabats. The body of this bat is about a foot long, and its wings can be three to six feet across. Even though they are big, they only weigh a couple of pounds, which makes it easier for them to fly.
Where Do They Live?
Flying fox bats live in warm, wet places, like rainforests. They can be found in the rainforests of Australia. They live in large social groups called colonies or camps where hundreds or even thousands of flying foxes can be spotted hanging upside down from the tops of trees.
They talk to each other through chirps and calls and stay cool by fanning their wings and licking themselves.
What Do They Eat?
You might have heard that some bats use a type of radar to locate and capture flying insects. Flying fox bats don't have that talent because they are not insect eaters. They are a type of fruit bat, and would rather eat fruits, nectar, flowers, and pollen than bugs. They are nocturnal, which means they are active and feed at night; they use their strong sense of smell and sight to locate dinner.
Flying fox bats help to spread pollen and seeds. Pollen picked up from the flowering plants they feed on falls off their fur as they fly allowing it to spread. The flying fox also poops a lot. The poop is dropped as they fly, allowing seeds in the poop to get dispersed to different areas.
What Is Their Life Cycle Like?
Even though they fly, flying foxes are not birds - they are mammals, which means the female bats give birth to live young and feeds the young milk from their bodies.
Females give birth in the spring, which in Australia is September through November. A baby bat can't fly when it's born, so it clings to its mother and even hangs on as she flies.
Flying foxes have some predators, including pythons and large birds, like owls. People can be a problem for the bats because people destroy the bats' habitat, and fruit farmers will shoot them to prevent them from raiding their fruit trees. The lifespan of a flying fox living in the wild is thought to be about 12 years.
The flying fox is a large bat that lives in warm, moist places, like Australia. The mammals, which have wide, leathery wings and a face that looks like a fox, live in large social groups called colonies or camps. They eat fruits, nectar, flowers, and pollen.
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